Wind farm will have

A CONSERVATION group has claimed a proposed wind farm on a former airfield will have a "devastating impact" on the surrounding area.Suffolk Preservation Society warned that Saxon Windpower's bid to build six 100m turbines at Parham Airfield "risks setting a precedent for the rest of the county".

By Sarah Chambers

A CONSERVATION group has claimed a proposed wind farm on a former airfield will have a "devastating impact" on the surrounding area.

Suffolk Preservation Society warned that Saxon Windpower's bid to build six 100m turbines at Parham Airfield "risks setting a precedent for the rest of the county".

It criticised the project as "the wrong proposal, in the wrong place and based on the wrong policies".


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Richard Ward, the society's director, said: "We are not against onshore wind farms in principle, but consider that the Parham application will have a devastating environmental impact on the surrounding valley, the Marlesford Conservation Area and on the setting of a number of important large listed buildings."

The society has already written to Suffolk Coastal District Council, which will make a decision on the application on October 5, and said it planned to make a detailed formal response to the proposal in a few weeks' time.

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It said it has formed its view about the scheme largely on the basis of a report it commissioned from an independent team of environmental consultants.

"This is the first major application to build an onshore wind farm in Suffolk and, in the absence of any clear strategic guidance or local policy guidelines, it risks setting a precedent for the rest of the county," said Mr Ward.

"Given this vacuum, plus the sheer scale of the Parham application and the environmental sensitivity of the area, the society considers this to be the wrong proposal, in the wrong place based on the wrong policies."

The society has produced its own paper on renewable energy generation and conservation and Mr Ward called for "an integrated approach" to the issue.

"Suffolk Preservation Society is lobbying to ensure that conservation issues are considered when new developments, whether residential or business, are proposed," he said.

James Townsend, project manager for the Parham wind farm project, said: "Saxon Windpower has undertaken a long, detailed consultation process prior to the application being submitted.

"The district council is now consulting all parties on Parham Airfield wind farm and Suffolk Preservation Society have the opportunity to make their comments known to the council."

The wind farm would generate electricity equivalent to the annual energy needs of over 4,000 homes, which is over 8% of the households in the Suffolk Coastal area, he said.

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